After Operation Desert Shield and Storm, I was stationed at Camp Blackhorse in Doha Kuwait with the 11th ACR. We were an Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), which basically means we were a self contained unit. For each squdron, we had 3 Cav troops- Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, which had two platoons of cav scouts in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and two platoons of M1A1 tanks, and a mortar section for each troop. We also had Delta Company, which was nothing but armor (tanks), then a howitzer battery, our own medics, etc. Basically, a Regiment has three Squadrons with the makeup I described, and an Air Cav squadron with attack helicopters.
Basically, our mission for decades had been in the Fulda Gap in Germany to act as speed bumps when the Commies rolled through the valley. Our job was just to slow them the fuck down before the Armor deeper in country could mobilize and counterpunch. We were the guys who spent decades running border control between the West and East Germany. We were there when the wall fell, and we were there for reunification day in Germany.
Back to the story. When we were in Camp Doha in Kuwait, we would have rotations. Alpha troop (my unit), would go run border missions in Iraq while Bravo troop would do maintenance on their vehicles (the sand just killed tanks and wore down our equipment), while Charlie troop be in what we called Z-phase, which was running the security for our base. We had towers and gates and 12 foot walls, and armed troopers at every gate with mirrors to look underneath cars and plenty of folks to investigate people coming in as civilians to run base operations (cook, give haircuts, etc.).
So why am I telling you this? Because in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions in the world, even with clear Rules of Engagement, every time I went on gate duty, there was a piece of tape over my ammo clip on my M-16 and M1911 .45. Why? Because the most heavily armed military in the world did not want accidental shootings. If a situation arose, I would have to eject my ammo clip, remove the tape, and reinsert and work the action before I could fire.
This was in a combat zone. Yet I have spent the last two fucking days dealing with armchair commandos telling me they need unlimited firepower to be safe in… Connecticut.
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